Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Government
August 23rd, 2014
8:59
 

As we all droop from the heat of summer in America, it’s a depressing thought to imagine that water shortages could spell an end to making lemonade or running thru the sprinkler on your lawn or hanging out at a pool or beach with your friends or biting into a sweet juicy peach grown by a local farmer (all particularly summer-y type activities that are generally associated with the U.S.).  But it may not be as far fetched as one might suppose -  and it may have a financial repercussions worldwide, too!

Since 2011 companies have spent more than $84bn worldwide to improve the way they conserve, manage or obtain water, according to data from Global Water Intelligence, regulatory disclosures and executive interviews with the Financial Times.

 

Please take some time to check out the article by Pilita Clark linked below .  Admittedly, it’s a lengthy read, but absolutely fascinating (and slightly terrifying!) in the details about the many areas of the globe that have already begun preparations in hopes of staving off the worst effects of the ‘evaporation’ of this most precious commodity.

 

A WORLD WITHOUT WATER

 

Continents

(P.S. Note her mention of Coca-Cola and their project with World Wildlife Fund – I talked about their work in my blog post on June 27th. Here’s another chance to click on the panda to explore different career paths for yourself)

WWF logo

 

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As more and more emphasis is placed on finding alternative means of energy, here’s an interesting story on Geothermal out of American Samoa.

“The American Samoa Power Authority has teamed up with Quantec Geoscience to look for a source of geothermal energy beneath certain parts of Tutuila, as confirmed by ASPA CEO Utu Abe Malae in response to Samoa News queries. The hope is that this form of renewable energy will be able to replace diesel fired power plants in the territory   …this project is designed to cost effectively map the deep layers of rock and water beneath certain parts of Tutuila without the expense and impacts of drilling.”

Mapping of Tutuila being done with an eye toward geothermal energy

Click on the map to earn more about this beautiful region.

Click on the map to learn more about this beautiful region.

Take a look at this accompanying piece on the technology from Leapfrog on 3D Geothermal Modeling

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August 11th, 2014
11:54
 

Everyone likes to believe they could be an A+ level student or a sought after subject matter expert or the world’s most renowned someone or just darn good at SOMETHING!  Maybe you’ll have that opportunity with a boost from technology being investigated at Wright State U in Ohio…  Learn more about transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS.   Basically, it’s a device that uses electricity to stimulate your brain in all the right places. (Have a peek at their internal university posting, too, on Wright State University Newsroom and explore other avenues available to you at the school.)

 Brilliant for a Day: The (REAL) Science of Brain Enhancing Stimulation

 Brain stimulation

 

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While there is humor in this article, the concepts discussed may actually have validity in the days, weeks, months, & years to come.  Certainly if we can’t figure out ways to reverse the damage we’ve done to the planet that supports human life, perhaps human life will have to adapt to remain its inhabitants…

“In the far future, might we consider changing human biology to avoid the worst effects of climate change? Frank Swain explores an intriguing thought experiment.”

Climate change: Could we engineer greener humans?

Smaller humans would have less impact on the planet (Getty Images)

Smaller humans would have less impact on the planet
(Getty Images)

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Given all the unsettling events that have taken place around the globe with hacking of credit card data and the like, it seems many people are ditching the ‘plastic’ for their purchasing and (gasp!) using actual currency – at least temporarily…

Here’s a story about another possibility for payment options.  Bitcoins are gaining traction in a variety of settings and being tried for all sorts of different applications as an alternative to “filthy lucre”.    (Are we taking the high road or the low road, do you think?  Whichever, I’ll be in Scotland afore ye’ – maybe I can use bitcoins to buy my very own castle.  That would prove me a bampot for sure!)

 Independent Scotland ‘could be bitcoin testbed’

From Wikipedia:  Bitcoin is a software-based payment system…introduced as open-source software in 2009. Payments are recorded in a public ledger using its own unit of account, which is also called bitcoin. Payments work peer-to-peer without a central repository or single administrator, which has led the US Treasury to call bitcoin a decentralized virtual currency. Although its status as a currency is disputed, media reports often refer to bitcoin as a cryptocurrency or digital currency.

scotland

Click on the flag to get some historical perspective on the monetary system in Scotland

 

Some “bits and bobs” on the bitcoin…

A bitcoin documentary film called The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on 23 April 2014, chronicling bitcoin’s origins to its explosive growth in 2013.  http://newsbtc.com/2014/03/17/bitcoin-documentary-film-rise-rise-bitcoin-debut-tribeca-film-festival/ 

In Fall 2014, undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will receive $100 in bitcoins “to better understand this emerging technology”. A student had the idea of a Bitcoin Club and raised more than half a million dollars from a high frequency trader. Hern, Alex (30 April 2014). “MIT students to get $100 worth of bitcoin from Wall Street donor”. The Guardian. 1 May 2014.

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